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This book examines the transformation of Europe from the perspective of social theory. The idea of 'Europeanization' is used as an alternative to 'European integration' to indicate a turning away from simplistic notions of societal integration that dominate mainstream European studies. A central objective of the book is to argue that Europeanization should be theorized in terms of societal transformations rather than in terms of polity-building or institutions of governance. Rethinking Europe applies contemporary social theory to a field of study in which it has hitherto played a limited role, and seeks to broaden the terms of the debate on Europeanization, conventionally limited to the supersession of the nation-state by a supra-national authority and the changes within member states consequent upon EU membership. Dominant approaches to the transformation of Europe ignore contemporary social theory interpretations of the nature and dynamics of social change. The core argument is that we need a theory of society in order to understand Europeanization.
The book advances the case that Europeanization should be theorized in terms of globalization, major social transformati that are not exclusively spear-headed by the EU and located within the wider context of the transformation of modernity.
University of Liverpool, UK Department of Social and Political Science, Royal Holloway